PhD student 1.0 fte

Beyond the QALY: improving welfare economic evaluations in health care and optimising health technology assessment

12 dagen geleden


Landelijk / geen vaste standplaats
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur


Description of the project
The basic task of any economic evaluation in a health technology assessment (HTA) framework is to compare the costs and benefits of health interventions being considered. Benefit assessment is however one of the greatest challenges facing economists. In recent years, the interest in valuing the benefits of health interventions at a macro level is increasingly shifting from the common quality-adjusted-life-year (QALY; health-related benefits only) model towards capturing the full benefit of interventions and the value these benefits receive in different contexts. The rationale for this phenomenon is that ignoring benefits selectively might lead to non-optimal or even wrong HTA decisions. This has led to the exploration of a broader outcome measure in terms of overall quality of life (i.e., wellbeing). Such an outcome measure would allow the evaluation of a wider scope of interventions in health care, within and across the prevention, cure and care domains.
At the same time, improving benefit assessment at a micro level (i.e. patients’ preferences) is also of utmost importance. Evidence shows that many health interventions are used by fewer patients (i.e. low uptake) and at less frequent intervals (i.e. low adherence) than recommended by clinical guidelines. As a result, health interventions might be highly cost-effective when used as directed in guidelines, but much less so when the benefits of interventions (including health and non-health benefits) are not aligned with patients’ needs and preferences, potentially leading to lower uptake or adherence. Although scientists and HTA bodies both highly agree about the importance of incorporating patient preference information into HTA decision making, there is little guidance how to systematically elicit and incorporate patient preferences in a scientifically valid way and hence to optimise HTA decision making.

Description of the position
The PhD candidate will aim to improve welfare economic evaluations in health care and optimising health technology assessment by developing, validating and implementing a domain specific and a generic health preference instrument for assessing the full benefit of health interventions at a micro level.
The PhD candidate will work closely with a PhD candidate to be appointed at the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), who will will develop, validate and implement a wellbeing-based measure for valuing the full benefits of health care interventions at a macro level, expressing value in terms of wellbeing-adjusted-life-years (WALYs). iBMG and ESE are working closely together on both PhD position topics.


The successful applicant for this position is expected to have a recent or almost completed Master’s degree in health economics, behavioural economics, econometrics or health sciences. The ideal candidate has advanced analytical and mathematical skills, interest in qualitative methods, and a strong motivation for doing methodological research in the field of health care. Applicants must have excellent communication and writing skills in English, and like to collaborate closely in a multidisciplinary group. Knowledge of programming languages and excellent communication and writing skills in Dutch are an advantage. Computer skills should at least include Excel, R, SPSS or similar statistical software.


We offer a full-time position as PhD student at iBMG. Starting date of PhD appointment is October 1st, 2017. The PhD student is appointed for a period of 4 years, starting with a temporary contract for 1.5 years and followed by a second temporary contract for 2.5 years. Remuneration will be in accordance with the PhD scale set by the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU). Fulltime work will pay € 2.222 before taxes in the first year, increasing to € 2.840 in the fourth year. EUR offers a set end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and, as noted above, offers generous opportunities for further education.

Additional information

For more information about this position, contact Dr. Esther de Bekker-Grob ( or Prof.dr. Job van Exel ( Qualified applicants should send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and the names and contact details of two references by email to: The deadline for application is August 19th, 2017. Job interviews for selected candidates have been scheduled on August 28th and 29th.


Erasmus University Rotterdam aims to contribute to better health based on smarter choices, which are inspired by original research. To leverage this it has started a new initiative: the Erasmus Initiative ‘Smarter Choices for Better Health’. This ambitious initiative will drive research around this complex issue, from various perspectives, and focuses on four themes: Prevention of Health Care, Value Based Health Care, Evaluation of Health Care, and Health Equity. ‘Smarter Choices for Better Health’ creates a critical mass of high quality research and offers excellent opportunities to generate significant impact in society. Currently ‘Smarter Choices for Better Health’ (theme Evaluation of Health Care) offers a new opportunity for a position of PhD student (1.0 fte) who wll focus on the topic "Beyond the QALY: improving welfare economic evaluations in health care and optimising health technology assessment".'

The Institute of Health Policy & Management (iBMG) of Erasmus University Rotterdam is leading in the Netherlands with its educational and research activities targeted at policy and management issues in health care.

iBMG offers a bachelor programme, two master programmes and post-academic education. In addition, iBMG also offers several post-academic educational programmes and courses for master programme graduates. Research and educational activities at iBMG are closely intertwined. Knowledge and experience in various scientific disciplines such as economics, law, social-medical sciences, organisational science and public administration are brought together and applied to the health care sector. This multidisciplinary approach to education and research is unique.

Internationalisation is valued highly at iBMG. The numbers of students, teachers and researchers from abroad have risen significantly over the past years, thereby enriching the institute’s research and education programmes, and this trend is expected to continue.

This position is offered within the research group of Health Technology Assessment (HTA), which distinguishes itself through independent and excellent research in HTA, health economics and health outcomes research.


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